sides for chili

20 Best Side Dishes For Chili You Must Try

Firstly, let’s distinguish the difference between chili and chili con carne, and it’s not just a shortened abbreviation as one would think.

Chili is classic American comfort food, full of spice, and it can be made up as a vegetarian dish or with chicken or turkey. Chili con carne is made explicitly with meat as Carne means meat in Spanish. 

The ingredients of a traditional chili are debatable- depending on what American state you come from. The purists say it consists of meat, red chili peppers, and spice. 

What chili sides does one serve? Sides with Chili can vary; it is a personal preference. Here are my suggested sides for Chili.

Here’s What to Serve With Chili:

#1. Skillet Chili Lime Corn

This corn is a great side to serve with Chili; the sweetness of the corn works well with the spice of Chili. 

The corn is tossed with honey, finely chopped jalapeno, and cayenne pepper in a pan until the corn is nicely caramelized. It is served with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and crumbled Mexican queso fresco cheese.

Recipe: rasamalaysia.com

#2. Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Don’t know what to serve with chili? Why not give this bread a try. It is a great substantial side and the perfect way to soak up all the flavors from the spicy dish.

This bread is full of flavor, with onion, chopped jalapenos, and cheddar cheese folded through it. This is a moist, dense loaf and one of the best chili side dishes.

Recipe: iamhomesteader.com

#3. Patatas Bravas

These can quite easily be eaten on their own, but they would be the perfect accompaniment to serve with Chili too. 

These crispy potatoes are boiled until soft and then roasted in the oven until golden and crisp. They are dressed with some delicious aioli and salsa of onion, tomato, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.

Recipe: foxandbriar.com

#4. Garlic Parmesan Monkey Bread

This is a pull-apart bread. The dough is rolled into small portions and then baked in the cake tin, and the result is a bread that can easily be torn apart. 

This bread is a great side to serve with chili, and it’s flavored with garlic and parmesan.

Recipe: seevanessacraft.com

#5. Tropical Mango Guacamole

Still deciding what to eat with Chili? This fresh avo and mango guacamole is a great, quick and easy side that compliments Chili. 

The sweetness from the mango and the creaminess of the avo work well to balance the rich deep flavors of the chili stew. The guacamole is finished with a squeeze of fresh lime and chopped cilantro. 

Recipe: foodandwine.com

#6. Herb and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a hearty side for a hearty Chili stew. What’s not to like about mashed potato, and this creamy, garlic and herb version is no exception.

This recipe calls for the garlic to be roasted beforehand, blended with cream butter and salt, and mixed into the mashed potato. In the end, some chopped fresh herbs are folded in. 

Recipe: vikalinka.com

#7. Spicy and Creamy Slaw

What goes well with Chili? Why not give this coleslaw a try. It’s a lighter side than the others, but it punches with flavor. The cabbage is lightly salted to soften and then dressed in a yogurt dressing. 

The dressing is made up of yogurt, chopped garlic, lemon zest and juice, red wine vinegar, and serrano chile. This tart, creamy, spicy sauce works so well to balance the rich flavors of the Chili. 

Recipe: epicurious.com

#8. Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

The thinly sliced sweet potatoes are submerged in cream and baked until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is reduced. 

The potato bake is then topped with grated parmesan and baked until golden brown. If you are looking for a warm, hearty meal, then pair this as a side with Chili.

Recipe: theheartylife.org

#9. Cheesy Broccoli Rice

This is a great recipe, and you can change it up with different cheeses depending on what you prefer or what’s in your fridge.

The melted cheese creates a cheesy creamy texture, and the broccoli adds some crunch to the rice as it’s chopped and added raw to the cooked rice. The result is similar to risotto without all effort.

Recipe: bunnyswarmoven.net

#10. Baked Mac And Cheese

Who doesn’t like mac and cheese served with Chili? I think we have a winner side. And if there’s any leftover, one could quite easily eat a bowl of this on its own. 

Mac and cheese is all about the cheese sauce- and this recipe calls for provolone and cheddar cheese.

It’s then seasoned up with Worcestershire sauce, and the Worcestershire gives the sauce depth of flavor. This mac and cheese recipe is definitely worth a try.

Recipe: jocooks.com

#11. Garlic Butter Hasselback Potatoes

What’s better than a roast potato? A Hasselback potato, roasted with garlic butter. The potato is sliced halfway through into fan-like slices and brushed with melted garlic-infused butter. The potato is roasted for an hour until golden, crisp, and soft inside. 

Recipe: therecipecritic.com

#12. Braised Leeks

I love braised leeks; their flavor intensifies and becomes soft and sweet. But before cooking them, be sure to wash them properly- they can be full of sand. 

This recipe caramelizes the leeks before slowly cooking them in butter, white wine, and thyme. The sauce is finished off with more butter and a squeeze of lemon, which brings out the sweetness of the leeks, and it’s the perfect flavor to serve with Chili.

Recipe: foxandbriar.com

#13. Avocado Cucumber Salad

This fresh salad calls for avocados that are not too hard but not too ripe either. The avo is mixed with cucumber, green onions, lime, and olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. So simple and yet so delicious, this side would complement the Chili, vegetarian or not. 

Recipe: natashaskitchen.com

#14. Spaghetti aglio e olio

This is a dish eaten on its own, but it could equally be served as a side. When paired up with Chili, it’s almost a take on spaghetti bolognese, only better. 

It would be best if you cooked the pasta al dente. To make “Aglio e olio,” heat the oil, toast the garlic slightly, and add the cooked pasta, chopped parsley, parmesan, and Chili flakes. 

Seasoned well with salt and pepper, this spaghetti is full of flavor, teamed up with rich-tasting Chili – and you’ve got one great meal.

Recipe: contentednesscooking.com

#15. Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

Melted cheese and bread, what’s not to like! It’s even better served as a side with Chili. This side is so easy and quick to make but does not compromise in taste. 

The bread loaf is cut in a crosshatch pattern, brushed with garlic herb butter, and then stuffed with mozzarella and fontina. The bread is then wrapped in foil and baked until warm, and the cheese has melted. 

Melted cheese on hot bread, served with Chili. The perfect side dish.

Recipe: delish.com

#16. Southwest Chopped Salad

A rich bowl of Chili sometimes needs a light side dish; if that’s what you are feeling, this is the side to go for. It’s a salad of tomato, corn, black beans, bell pepper, green onion, and for added crunch, crushed tortilla chips. 

The key to a chopped salad is to chop all the ingredients finely and the same size. The salad is dressed with your typical ranch dressing. 

Recipe: peasandcrayons.com

#17. Authentic Indian Fry Bread Recipe

This bread recipe calls for baking powder instead of yeast. All the ingredients are combined to form a wet dough, and the dough is left to rest for an hour. The dough is then divided into 12 portions and flattened into thin discs. 

The dough is then fried in oil until golden brown. Do not overheat the oil; otherwise, the bread will be golden on the outside but still raw on the inside. The bread is torn and dunked into the Chili and enjoyed. 

Recipe: yellowblissroad.com

#18. Roasted Honey Glazed Carrots

Sweet notes compliment the rich flavors of Chili, and these roasted honey carrots will do just that. These sweet carrots are so easy to rustle up. 

The peeled carrots are tossed in olive oil, honey, thyme, and salt and then roasted. The result is caramelized sweet carrots garnished with orange zest and an extra drizzle of honey.

Recipe: twokooksinthekitchen.com

#19. Butternut Squash Pasta

This butternut pasta is sweet and gluten-free and a great alternative to regular pasta. Pop the butternut pasta on a baking tray, drizzle and toss the noodles in olive oil, and season with salt. 

Bake them in the oven until the butternut is tender. The pasta is finished with butter, grated parmesan, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Recipe: foodwithfeeling.com

#20. Garlic Parmesan Duchess Potatoes

These potatoes are the perfect side to a bowl of chili. The potatoes are boiled and mashed, and butter and garlic are added and seasoned with salt and pepper. The potato is then left to cool slightly before the yolks are added. 

Once the egg yolks are well combined into the potato mixture, they are piped into shape. The potato mounds are brushed with melted butter and baked until golden brown.

Recipe: cookingclassy.com

Final words

I hope this list will give you more ideas of what goes with chili every time. If you happen to cook a lot of chili, you can freeze for later use. When you’re ready to eat the leftovers, learn how to thaw frozen chili and reheat for better taste.

See more: Best crock pot chili recipes

*image by Shusha/depositphotos

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